My Pros and Cons of Autumn

Cons:

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Yea yea yea, it’s officially Autumn, so what. Today marks my least favorite time of the year for the Western part of the world. For one, I don’t celebrate holidays, so this is the time where people look at me like I got 3 eyeballs, a long green nose, and a broomstick hid away somewhere. At this time of the year flowers and pretty plants wither, and everything loses its vibrant colors and instead becomes a collection of blacks and grays.

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The trees look creepy all naked like that, someone should find some leaves to cover them. This is basically the time of year where everything dies and the Earth is cold (and I utterly despise the cold).

 

 

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But…

Pros.

What I do like about the Autumn (or what I like to call the reading) months is the peace it brings to our homes on the inside. Since were pretty much buried in, this is the time to catch up on some much needed studying. It is the time to cook foods that warm your soul like Chili, Greens, and Macaroni and Cheese fresh out the oven. And it is the time where we must turn up the heat and snuggle under the covers next to our lovers.

file(3)Speaking of cuddling, this time of the year makes movie night a lot more exciting than the summer months. In the summer, no one wants to be in the house because it’s so very nice outside. Summer is the time to get out and about and smell the fresh air. Winter and Fall however, is the time to be homebodies. A time to relax with a cup of warm tea, hot chocolate or coffee. I mean sure, you have a cup of coffee every morning but none of them can compare to the feeling of having the steamy liquid to engulf your throat when it’s bitter cold outside.

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The Fall / Winter months are also a great time to read so I will be looking to put my Fall Reading List together. I think perhaps I’ll even challenge myself to get through a certain number of books this year. My only set back is that I don’t want it to cut down on my scripture reading time so I’ll have to stick to a nice balanced schedule. I mean you know, priority is everything.

Is this time of the year exciting to you? Is it not exciting? Why? I would love to hear your pros and cons!

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Movie Night Friday – Soul Food

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Welcome back to another segment of Movie Night Friday. Where I present some of my favorite movies and why I love them.

Today I would like to discuss Soul Food, one of my favorite movies.

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Soul Food is a movie about one family and their ability to stay a family through their willingness to endure all of the trial and tribulations that befall them. Told from the perspective of 11-year-old Ahmad, the Chicago family creates a bond around the Sunday “Soul Food” dinners they have every Sunday. Documented to have been coined in 1964 when blacks exercised self-awareness concerning themselves and “Soul” and “Black Power” got popular, there are a lot of misconceptions concerning Soul Food. The assumption is that the essential ingredient is pork and that deep-fat frying is its ultimate technique. It is assumed that the food must be dangerously unhealthy (I have to agree with Huey on the Boondocks. How they gonna go back to eating the same food that gave Big Mama diabetes tho) and is even mentioned in the movie that because we didn’t have anything else to eat in slavery we made meals of whatever we were given and that this is soul food. While it is true that blacks during slavery had little to nothing to eat, Soul Food got its name, not necessarily because of slavery, but because of how it brought black families and communities together which predates the institution of chattel slavery. African Americans have always been a communal people and food has always been an art form. Even if it wasn’t called Soul Food specifically, “Soul Food” is a tradition that go back for centuries.

I still remember when I watched this for the first time back in ’97 or ’98 and it was the ideal family I imagined we have all wanted and if we had, something that we have all cherished. However, it is always easy to be there for one another during the good times, but what about when tragedy strikes? Multiple tragedies?

Can the Joseph family endure the ultimate challenge of betrayal, hurt, and Big Mama’s failing health? Does a family, who is knit together seemingly through the strength of one person, have what it takes to stay once that person is gone?

As is obvious, this became my favorite because of the family bond and the unity of love they had for one another. I wouldn’t say that I watch it over and over again or anything, but it is a good throwback classic.

MV5BMTQ4MTQ3NDcyNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjgwMzkyMQ@@._V1_SY317_CR10,0,214,317_AL_ Soul Food was eventually spent off into a TV series.

Trailer:

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Is Soul Food among one of your favs? Why do you love it?

Book Release Trivia Day! Post #4 *GAME TIME: Hunger Games*

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GAME TIME! Who’s ready? Here we go:

Hunger Games: Its Lunch Time! Be the first to answer this question correctly and win a Free Copy of Stella!

I am taking the first 3 correct answers this time! That’s right, 3 people have a chance to win this prize. AND, to make sure you keep your place and all, I am throwing in 3 matching Stella Bookmarks! So here goes:

On Sunday’s Stella’s mom Judith cooks a feast of a dinner. Which of these foods according to your best guess was NOT on the dinner table? This is easy if you’ve been paying attention to me :).

a. Brim and Crappy
b. Spaghetti and Meatballs
c. Fried Chicken and Macaroni
d. Greens, Neck-bones and Cornbread

Meanwhile, I’m gonna grab some lunch. Listen to this throwback from the movie Soul Food and I will be back with the answer! Love ya mama’s for cooking all those delicious meals!

Winners announced soon! This is for a FREE Copy of the book. Hurry! Comment your answer below.

Recipe Sunday – Potato and Beef Pie

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Its been a minute since we’ve had a Recipe Sunday. For those of you new to the PBS place to be, Recipe Sunday is when I share a fun recipe with you on you guessed it…Sundays. Not just any recipe, but recipes that are specifically designed to be simple for those who are not experts in the kitchen. Cooking is an area I’m not very excited about but I love getting creative and that means recipes. They put me in a cooking mood and give me the motivation I need to get going. After all, I do have a family to feed. Meal preparation is not just important, it is one of the skills I don’t think is taught enough these days.

So anyway, last week I was searching around the house for something to cook. But I was in the mood for something creative. I decided to take regular household foods we often always have in bulk, and try to see what I could do with them. This is good practice for lean days. If for whatever reason a catastrophe ensues, are you capable of creating a meal from the seemingly little things?

I grabbed:

Potatoes, Nacho Cheese, Ground Beef, Pancake Mix, Butter, and Tony Chacheres Creole Seasoning (while your at it, go ahead and chop up some Onions and Bell Pepper).

 
What a wide range of stuff huh? What exactly did I make?

 
I call it: Potato and Beef Pie

 
1. In a skillet, season and begin cooking the ground beef.

 
2. While the ground beef is cooking, cut your potatoes into squares, set aside.

 
3. Next, lubricate a baking dish with the butter. Make sure it covers the entire pan on all sides.

 
4. Your ground beef should be done now. Make sure it’s well done. Set Aside.

 
5. Make a pancake batter. (Make sure to add an egg or two). Be sure that it’s a thin mixture. If it’s too thick, add more water or milk but make sure it’s nice and thin.

 
6. Coat the baking dish with the batter. This is your crust. Using pancake mix adds a better flavor to me than regular flour. Plus, this is supposed to be a recipe made up of random foods around the house.

 
7. Heat the Nacho cheese so that it’s nice and smooth

 
8. Layer the dish: Add Ground Beef, Onions and Bell Peppers, Nacho Cheese, and Potatoes

 
9. With the leftover Pancake Batter (you may have to make more), coat the entire dish with the batter. This is your top crust.

 
10. Place this dish in the oven and bake uncovered at 350 degrees F. for one hour.

 
Regrettably, I did not take pictures so I cannot show you the end result. But when you take it out of the oven it should be a nice golden brown with delicious goodies tucked on the inside. You should be able to slice into squares or triangles or whatever shape and eat like a pie. The cheese provides just enough moisture for it not to be dry and the beef provides just enough meat to be filling. It was delicious.

 
This is an easy and efficient meal that even the kids will love. A vegetarian version can be made also. Just substitute the ground beef with ground Mung Bean, a good meat substitute.

Recipe Sunday: The Mung Bean

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So I have a niece with extreme allergies. As a result she is a vegetarian, but not just a vegetarian but extreme vegan. Her allergies are so bad that she cannot eat meat and is pretty much allergic to anything you can find in the dictionary. So anyway, I invited my sister and my nieces to my home to chill one Sunday afternoon and my sister mentioned we were having burgers.

Burgers? But niecee can’t eat burgers”.

Oh yes she can”, said sis, “She can eat these burgers”.

And this is how I was introduced to the Mung Bean.

My sister (we’ll call her V for now) made some of the most delicious vegan burgers I’ve ever tasted for them not to be made of meat. Now mind you my household is meat-a-tarians. I don’t have to define that for you do I? So yea, we meat eaters around here. But we both enjoyed the burger alternatives. Throw some cheese on there and make it up like a regular burger and Burger King ain’t got nothing on you. She made them thick and meaty too. V also makes imitation steaks out of these. So today I would like to share some information with you on the Mung Bean from an Article V gave to me written by a woman named Kim @ Affairs of Living:

Sprout-Mung-Beans-Step-9“If you eat beans, but haven’t yet ventured into the wonderful world of mung bean, you must! Mung Beans are used in many ways in SE Asian, Indian, and Middle Eastern cuisine. They are soaked, ground and used for flat-breads. They are sprouted and served raw. They are processed into noodles. They are peeled and split, and used to make dal, where they take on a smooth, velvety texture that is a true comfort food. They are cooked whole with coconut milk to make a sweet soup. They are mashed and used as fillings in sweet buns and deserts. They are cooked plain and added to various rice dishes. Quick cooking, full of protein, and easily digested, mung beans are considered to be an extremely healing and nourishing bean. Because they are small, they are easier to digest than larger beans, and are recommended for cleanings the body toxins. In Ayurveda medicine, they are considered tridoshic, meaning people of every constitution can find nourishment in the mung bean. And in Chinese medicine, mung beans are considered a cooling food and are recommended for detoxification, clearing heat, reducing swelling and edema and promoting urinary tract function.

34603-org-mung-beans-500Dry mung beans can be purchased in a variety of ways. Whole, they are bright and green. Or you can purchase them split where they take on the name moong dal. You can get moong dal either with the skins still on and or peeled-once peeled, they are light yellow. I love peeled moong dal, it is probably my favorite. I generally buy mung beans at the Asian markets, where they are the cheapest (this is also where V buys hers).

Hint: You can also use the mung bean as a flour!

“Additionally, it is high in iron, folate, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and potassium. Mung beans are also considered a low glycemic food, and are perfect for people concerned about blood sugar spikes. Using mung bean flour combination with other flours is a great way to add extra protein, fiber, and healthy, slow-digesting carbs.

Homemade Mung Bean Flour – Gluten Free, Vegan, High Protein

Yield: Approx. 2 1/4 c Flour.

Ingredients:
2 c mung beans (either whole or peeled or split or a mix)
Equipment:
Coffee Grinder or High Power Blender

Roasting the Beans:
1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
2. Spread beans evenly on baking sheet. Place in oven and roast for 20 minutes until golden, stirring every 5 minutes to prevent burning.
3. Remove from oven and cool completely.

Grinding the Beans:
1. In a coffee grinder or high power blender, grind the beans in batches. I used a coffee grinder (No, not me, Kim) and ground 1/2 c beans at a time.
2. Grind for approx. 30 seconds, shaking beans in grinder to evenly mix.
3. Once your beans are ground to a fine powder, transfer to a large bowl and grind the next batch.
4. Once all of your beans have been ground, let the flour cool (Grinding warms it up!) and then transfer to an alright container. Store in a cool place.

Recipe Sunday – One Dish Blackberry French Toast

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If you’re anything like me you love French toast! I actually enjoy them more than pancakes. Pancakes are too filling for me, I can only enjoy like two with additional sides before I’m filled to the brim. But French toast is such a light delicate sweet treat. And what I love about this recipe is that it puts me into the mind of a breakfast casserole. Not to mention it’s super easy to make. Prepare your taste buds to simply go wild. For this recipe we’ll need:

• 1 cup blackberry jam
• 1 (12-oz) French bread load, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
• 1 (8-oz) package 1/3 less fat cream cheese, cut into 1 inch cubes
• 1 Large Eggs
• 2 cups half and half
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
• Maple Syrup
• Whipped Cream

1. Cook jam in a small saucepan over medium heat 1 to 2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring once.

2. Place half of bread cubes in bottom of a lightly greased baking dish. Top with cream cheese cubes, and drizzle with melted jam. Top with remaining bread cubes.

 
3. Whisk together eggs and next 3 ingredients. Pour over bread mixture. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Cover tightly, and chill 8 to 24 hrs.

4. Preheat oven to 325. Bake covered for 20 minutes. Uncover and back another 10-15 minutes or until bread is golden brown and mixture is set. Serve with desired toppings.

Now, I’ll turn my head so you can eat 🙂

Recipe Sunday: Spinach, Onion, and Swiss Frittata

l210500737I know, Recipe Sunday is mad late, but, better late than never is what they say. I am dying to get into this one though. I decided to switch it up a bit so this is a breakfast recipe. You can however make it a dinner if you’re a 24 hour breakfast eater like me. I’ll make pancakes and eggs for dinner in a heartbeat. But enough about me, you will need:

2 Teaspoons canola oil
2 Cups vertically sliced onion
4 Cups baby spinach leaves
8 Large eggs, lightly beaten
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
3 (3/4th cup) shredded Swiss cheese

1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Heat a 10-inch ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add onion; sauté 10 minutes or until tender. Add spinach; cook 2 minutes, stirring just until spinach withers.

3. Combine eggs, salt, and pepper. Pour egg mixture over vegetables in pan; cook until edges begin to set, about 2 minutes. Gently lift edge of egg mixture, tilting pan to allow uncooked egg mixture to come in contact with the pan. Cook 2 minutes or until egg mixture is almost set. Sprinkle with cheese.

 
4. Bake at 400 degrees for 8 minutes or until center is set. Transfer frittata to a serving platter immediately; cut into shape of choice and devour. 🙂